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Young Moroccan housemaids continue to suffer

Source : | 27 March 2013 |  News | 476 views


By Omar Bihmidine

Morocco World News

Sidi Ifni, Morocco, March 27, 2013

Despite the fact that Moroccan media has somewhat served the purpose of revealing many poignant stories of young housemaids still being ill treated in households, the occurrence is still common in many corners of the country. The question remains:  Aren’t there any associations that defend the rights of this category of society and help put an end to exploiting these young girls?

In early January, Nassima, a young housemaid, attempted to take her life after being sexually assaulted in Casablanca. Working under terrible conditions pushed her to choose suicide as solution to her predicament. While her father was only interested in  taking the money she earned, Nassima ran out of patience and decided to  making her voice heard and raise awareness about other young housemaids like her

“Young housemaids are not given the chance to live comfortably inside the households and to complain about what happens to them. That is why they usually are victims of psychological turmoil and physical torture,” Hassan Karlfal, a Moroccan sociologist, told Medi 1 national channel following Nassima’s suicide attempt.

Nearly two years ago, Khadija, a 13-year-old housemaid, was killed following a caning inflicted by her employers. The incident sparked uproar nationally to the extent that several human rights associations took to the street, denouncing  the increasingly alarming phenomenon.

According to the latest statistics, nearly 30,000 young girls work as housemaids in Morocco. Yet, little has been done to alleviate the abuse they suffer. ,These maids continue to fall prey to all kinds of exploitation, ranging from working endlessly, to receiving a meager  wage to being sexually harassed. As a result, they develop psychological and mental problems, especially since they are denied their basic childhood rights.

Poverty-stricken, many parents send their young daughters to work for rich families. Unfortunately, these daughters encounter callous treatment, but they have no other choice but to support their parents with the meager salary they earn. Among the ramifications of this phenomenon is that these young housemaids miss the chance to go to school, to enjoy their childhood, and above all to lead a dignified life with their family.

Even if civil society organizations  make efforts to prevent the spread of this exploitation and calls on the government to pass laws, disallowing families to hire young housemaids, efforts in this venture must still be redoubled.

In Agadir, the case of the young housemaid who was recently tortured to death has set-off another alarm bell for the government and civil society to hasten taking action. Among the solutions provided by some associations so far is financially helping poverty-stricken families to send their daughters to school instead of sending them to work as housemaids.

It is high time the government and civil society organizations worked hand in hand in order to put an end to this brazen exploitation of our children.

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